Parlor Magic

I enjoy sleight-of-hand/illusion/trickery or what is sometimes called “parlor magic.” I love to watch a GOOD illusionist, a magician’s magician, who can make me say, “Whoa! That’s cool. Where DID that rabbit come from.” Oh, I know there are now websites that can tell you how everything was done, but I don’t read ‘em unless I would want to learn to do them.

I want to share a story I heard from my Grandfather on my mother’s side many years ago. This is the grandfather whose only plumbing was hot and cold running water in the kitchen sink, who said to me one time, when I had made a disparaging remark about using the outhouse (in the middle of a sub-zero Wisconsin winter), that there must be something wrong with city people because they go to the bathroom in their houses. He told the story when I was very young, before we joined the religion that didn’t celebrate Christmas and it stuck with me through the years. Whether it happened to him when he was a young boy or his grandfather told him about it or he did it, I really don’t know. I am recalling from 40 years ago. It may have happened during the Depression, but at any rate, it was a time that children were grateful to get any little thing.

What they got one year was a visit from St. Nick. The poem by Clement Moore having been just freshly read or told, the children were sent to bed upstairs. Apparently they were at that age where they start to question the existence of Santa Claus. When you are a child you think that you can stay up all night and never go to sleep, but usually you wind up at least dozing off from time to time. When they got up and saw the presents under the tree and the stockings filled, they ran outside and sure enough, there were little footprints in the snow and sled tracks across the roof by the chimney.

What he had done was take a cat and throw it on the roof and then took a rope and pulled a sled through the snow up there! From the ground, to bright little Christmas eyes, you could plainly see that Santa had landed on the roof and where the reindeer had pranced and pawed.

How magical! Oh, sure, compared to the real story of Christmas it’s just parlor magic, but still, what a thoughtful and caring old magician Grandfather was.

Don’t forget, the Good Book says, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

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